“MOMS Act” Threatens Government Tracking of Pregnant People

Sen. Katie Britt and a pregnancy test
Lack of Federal Intervention on Abortion Leaves Door Open for Breach of Privacy

Key Facts & Toplines:

  • Trump Doesn’t Care, Wants States to Deal with Abortion
  • MOMS Act on Mother’s Day Attempts to Give Government Private Pregnancy Data
  • Rep. Donna Howard on What Pregnant Texans Actually Need
  • Sign up by May 17 for the Texas Medical Board Hearing on Abortion Ban Exceptions

Who Determines Your Rights?

At first glance, ex-President Donald Trump’s incessant remarks in a TIME Magazine interview about his lack of intent to do anything about abortion might seem like a victory. However, his reasoning for inaction refers to state rights, saying “states are going to make their own determination.“ Only time will tell if he means that, and conservative-led states will continue to whittle away at the remaining access we have, but be warned that his allies are pushing for anti-abortion judges and reduced access. So if it’s up to the states, what are they saying?

If left up to Alabama, you’d find dystopian leadership in the youngest woman elected to the Senate, Katie Britt (R). She proposed a bill ahead of Mother’s Day that would effectively create a federal database for tracking pregnancy and periods across the country in the name of assisting mothers. Rep. Donna Howard (TX-48) says, “Senator Britt’s proposed bill completely ignores the realities facing Americans of reproductive age. Almost half of Texas counties are maternity health deserts.” 

The “More Opportunities for Moms to Succeed” or MOMS Act, would establish a new Pregnancy.gov website, featuring OB-GYN services and sexual health clinics across the country. Yet, it also specifically excludes any entity that “performs, induces, refers for, or counsels in favor of abortions” from receiving funding or placement on the site. Importantly, it would have users take an assessment and provide consent to “contact information that the government could use to conduct outreach via phone or email.” If enacted, lawmakers will report back with updates on the website traffic.

"If she really wanted to provide “More Opportunities for Moms to Succeed,” Senator Britt should focus on legislation that would increase access to medical services instead of creating invasive databases of pregnant women that have the potential to track and harass those who are pregnant by sending them to crisis pregnancy centers, notorious for providing no medical services while dispensing medically inaccurate information." 

— Rep. Donna Howard, Texas District 48

Tracking Your Period

This leaves room for the anti-abortion extremists to track you and everyone else’s private health information if provided. It is not unprecedented for this type of data to be used as retaliation against pregnant people, especially those seeking abortions.

For example, period tracking apps like Flo caught flack for retaining and sharing private information, notoriously selling user data to Facebook. This becomes problematic quickly because prosecutors can subpoena any app on a person’s device to build a case against them.  So it’s imperative to not provide this vital and private information willingly in what could become a national database for surveillance. In comparison to Flo’s breach of privacy, other period tracking apps are locking down their user information, utilizing the world’s strictest privacy laws, the European GDPR, and promising American users they won’t share private data with the government. 

Texas Medical Board

Meanwhile, back in Texas, there’s a fight to protect abortion rights involving the Texas Medical Board. The Legislature, leaders, and courts have punted the responsibility to them of defining abortion emergency exceptions. 

You can join this fight by registering for public comment until noon on May 17 for the upcoming virtual hearing on May 20, regarding the Board’s rules for exceptions to the statewide abortion bans. They will receive public comments until June 1, and if you need any assistance in shaping your message, please refer to our sample comment here. Take action today by leaving your comment, and sharing this opportunity with friends, family, and co-workers - everyone is impacted when our right to healthcare is taken away.


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